Arizona Grand Canyon North Rim

Grand Canyon Guide to the North Rim...

Your Trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National ParkThe North Rim of the Grand Canyon is more remote and there are fewer services. Visitor services and facilities inside the national park on the North Rim are only open from mid May to mid October.

Even though you will find smaller crowds on the North Rim, you will have to get advance reservations for camping and lodging. When making lodging or camping reservations for the North Rim, be sure to let the agent know it is the North Rim you plan on visiting.

The North Rim is over 8000 feet (2438 m) above sea level. Visitors with respiratory or heart problems may experience difficulties. All walking at this elevation can be strenuous.

Mail Order Publications

The Grand Canyon Association bookstore has a wide variety of publications that can be purchased online. They include trail guides, maps, videos, and packages that will help you plan your trip to Grand Canyon. For educational tours at Grand Canyon consider GCA's field seminar program the Grand Canyon Field Institute. GCA is a private, non-profit organization that operates bookstores in Grand Canyon National Park and has provided financial and programmatic support to the park service at Grand Canyon National Park since 1932.

Grand Canyon National Park is in a remote part of the country. Remember:

  • Bring an extra set of car keys; it could be a long wait for a locksmith.
  • Film is available at the North Rim, but the closest camera repair is in Flagstaff.
  • There is no automobile mechanic on the North Rim.
  • Distances are deceiving in this part of the country. It may look like you can visit three parks in one day, but reality is often different.
  • Keep your gas tank full. The next gas station may be quite a distance down the road.
  • Carry water in your car, particularly during summer months.

Climate

SUMMER
North Rim summer temperatures are cooler than those on the South Rim due to increased elevation and can range from 40s-70s°F (5°-21°C). The North Rim is 8000 feet (2438 m) above sea level. Thunderstorms frequently occur during July, August, and early September. Inner canyon temperatures are extreme. Daytime highs at the river, 5000 feet (1500m) below the rim, often exceed 105°F (40°C).

WINTER
The North Rim can get heavy snowfall during the winter months. The road into the North Rim (Highway 67) is closed from the first heavy snow in November or early December to mid-May.

SPRING AND FALL
Spring and fall weather is unpredictable. Be prepared for sudden changes in the weather at those times of year. May and October can be some of the driest months, although snowstorms may occur. The road from Jacob Lake to the North Rim (Highway 67) opens mid-May and closes late fall, depending on snowfall.

Scenic Viewpoints of the North Rim

The three developed viewpoints on the North Rim offer a sense of looking across the expanse of the canyon, rather than into its depths. Views of the Colorado River are rare and distant. These descriptions may help you to plan your visit.

Point Imperial and Cape Royal are reached via a winding scenic drive. The trip to both points, with short walks at each and several stops at pullouts along the way, can easily take half a day.

Point Imperial, the highest point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet, overlooks the Painted Desert and the eastern end of Grand Canyon. Here the canyon transforms as the narrow walls of Marble Canyon, visible only as a winding gash, open dramatically to become “grand.” Layers of red and black Precambrian rocks, not visible at Bright Angel Point, add contrast and color. Part of the viewpoint is accessible.

Cape Royal provides a panorama up, down, and across the canyon. With seemingly unlimited vistas to the east and west, it is popular for both sunrise and sunset. The sweeping turn of the Colorado River at Unkar Delta is framed through the natural arch of Angels Window. Look for the Desert View Watchtower across the canyon on the South Rim. This popular viewpoint is accessible via a paved, level trail.

It takes a bit of effort, and four-wheel drive, to reach Point Sublime, the western-most of the North Rim viewpoints. The rough, two-hour (one-way) trip to this remote point is rewarded by a view that lives up to its name. Inquire about road conditions and possible closures before heading out.

Most visitors make a stop at Bright Angel Point, at the southern end of the entrance road. From the parking area it is a short, easy walk to Grand Canyon Lodge and a classic view of the canyon. This facility is wheelchair accessible. A paved, half-mile (round-trip) trail leads from the lodge, out the spine of the ridge, to the point. This trail is steep in places, with drop-offs and stairs, but provides dramatic views into Roaring Springs and Bright Angel Canyons.

The Inner Canyon

The inner canyon offers a memorable wilderness experience. Camping in the inner Grand Canyon requires a permit. You can obtain a permit from the Backcountry Information Center.

Hiking in the Grand Canyon can be a wonderful and spiritual experience. But BEWARE. Over 250 people are rescued from the Canyon each year. The difference between a great adventure in Grand Canyon and a trip to the hospital (or worse) is up to YOU - follow the rules of smart hiking and - DO NOT attempt to hike from the rim to the river and back in one day, especially during the months of May to September.

Havasupai Indian Reservation

The Havasupai Indian Reservation is in a large tributary canyon on the south side of the Colorado River. This land lies outside the boundary and jurisdiction of the National Park Service and is administered by the Havasupai Indian Tribe. The village of Supai is accessible only by foot (an 8-mile hike) or horseback. Hiking is by tribal permit only. Inquiries should be directed to Havasupai Tourist Enterprises, P.O. Box 160, Supai, AZ 86435. (928) 448-2121 or (928) 448-2141 for the tourist office, (928) 448-2111 for lodging.

Hualapai Indian Reservation

Grand Canyon West (located on the south side of the Colorado River) is managed by the Hualapai Tribe. The Hualapai Indian Reservation is located on the south side of the Colorado River. This land lies outside the boundary and jurisdiction of the National Park Service and is administered by the Hualapai Indian Tribe. Inquiries should be directed to Hualapai Tribe, P.O. Box 538, Peach Springs, Arizona, 86434, (928) 769-2216. They can provide you with driving directions, as well as a rate structure for access to their lands along the rim.

What time is it?

Arizona does not observe Daylight Saving Time. We are on Mountain Standard Time year-round. The exception to this is the Navajo Reservation, in the northeast corner of the state. The reservation observes Daylight Saving Time and changes its time for 6 months of the year.

More Grand Canyon Information

For a more accessible area and more services, see the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. In for a real adventure? Check out the options for whitewater river rafting in the Grand Canyon. These are very popular and reservations are required.

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